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Donte Moncrief to provide excellent value early in fantasy drafts

Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

The 2014 wide receiver draft class is going to be remembered for a long time. When fantasy owners think of that class, Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin and Jarvis Landry are the first wideouts that come to mind. Heading into Year 3, it’s important not to forget about third-round pick from the 2014 draft, Donte Moncrief of the Indianapolis Colts.

Last season, Moncrief finished second on the Colts with 64 receptions and 733 receiving yards. He also led the team with six touchdowns. If not for an injury to quarterback Andrew Luck, Moncrief could have posted even stronger numbers. Instead, he’s a guy flying under the radar with tremendous upside as long as Luck stays on the field.

The 23-year-old receiver had 36 catches, 399 receiving yards and five touchdowns in the first half of the year despite the fact that Indianapolis was full of potential targets (T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Coby Fleener, Dwyane Allen). At the halfway mark, Moncrief was actually on pace for 72 grabs, 798 yards and 10 scores.

However, Luck didn’t play a game after Week 9. Moncrief and Matt Hasselbeck had some chemistry–the two connected eight times for 114 yards in Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers–but overall, Moncrief’s production wasn’t as good without Luck.

In the final five games last season, the second-year receiver averaged just 2.4 catches and 29.8 yards per week, giving him under 5.0 points per game in PPR formats. He also had one touchdown in December.

The last week of the season with Josh Freeman starting under center was a particularly bad disaster. Moncrief had just two targets and caught one for negative-2 yards. The previous week (Hasselbeck started), he had two targets, two receptions and just 15 yards, so at the most critical time of the fantasy season, Moncrief posted a whopping 1.3 fantasy points in the final two weeks combined.

That’s not exactly going to endearing himself to fantasy owners this season. But take my advice fantasy owners – forgive him.

Fantasy Pros ranks him 27th at wide receiver and 56th overall in standard leagues, meaning he should go in the middle of the fifth round. That’s the perfect spot to draft a WR3, which is what the analysis website considers him in a 12-team league.

But his 72.0 ADP suggests owners can grab him towards the end of the sixth round, 16 selections after his initial ranking according to Fantasy Pros. That ultimately means that Moncrief has some of the best value of any player ranked in the top 100 overall players.

If owners plan to use our waiting on quarterback strategy, then they can target wide receivers and running backs in the first five rounds and then target Moncrief in the sixth. In that scenario, Moncrief is either a solid WR3 on a team with three very good running backs or a great WR4 selection. In the seventh and eighth round, target a quarterback such as Blake Bortles, Philip Rivers or Tom Brady.

For the owners that are a little antsy about waiting for a quarterback that long, they can target a signal caller in the fifth round after grabbing two running backs and a pair of wide receivers. In this situation, Moncrief is still worth targeting as a WR3 in the sixth.

Assuming Luck stays healthy this season, Moncrief has the potential to throw his name into the ring of great receivers from the 2014 draft class. Owners who target him in the sixth round of 12-team leagues should reap the benefits.

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